Malone Railroad: A Few Oddities

Ogdensburg-Lake Champlain Railroad Station

Just as Malone craves the “Rooftop Highway” to free it from its economic isolation, in the nineteenth century, the county wanted a railroad. It became the single greatest force for economic growth and prosperity in Malone.

The Ogdensburg-Lake Champlain Railroads began construction in 1848 and 1850 saw the first passenger trains which ran in an east-west direction. This railroad ran through the twin, brick turrets of Community Bank on Elm Street. This made Malone an economic hub. Previously, commerce centered in Fort Covington (formerly French Mills) because of the St. Lawrence River.

In 1892 we got the Adirondack and St. Lawrence Railroads which ran north-south. It’s station is now Dr. Weisman’s office near Raymond Street.

The farmers prospered because these railroads opened up markets around the state. Because of them, dairying became popular.

Some interesting facts about our railroads–according to Fredrick Seaver, pg. 50:

  1. Conductors did not need to collect fees from extremely poor or disabled people.
  2. Baggage that weighed over eighty pounds was charged a fee.
  3. No work was done in any of the stations on the sabbath.
  4. As late as 1885, when other railroad lines offered excursions to the Thousand Islands or Lake Champlain on Sunday, the Ogdensburg-Lake Champlain lines refused.


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